Armando Punzo was born in Cercola (Naples) in 1959. Around 1978, he began his activity in Naples with street performances and established "Piccolo Circo Oscuro." His involvement in Volterra flourished in 1983 as a guide of the international group "L'Avventura" and the Center of Active Culture "Il Porto." Starting in 1987, after establishing "Carte Blanche," he began his partnership with Volterra Penitentiary and created a small workshop. By 1988, "Compagnia della Fortezza" was born and comprised of detainees-actors of the penitentiary.
Since then, he staged 30 shows, some of which have received major recognitions of the cultural and theatre field (Ubu 1991 Special Award for the work carried out in the penitentiary; Ubu Award 1993 for Best Show of the Year, with "Marat-Sade" and Ubu Special Award 1993 for the collective commitment in the dramaturgical research and work; Europe Award - Taormina Arte and Special Award AGIS 1996 for the show "I Negri", Ubu Award for the Best Show of the Year, Carmelo Bene Award - "Lo Straniero," ANTC (National Association of Theatre Critics) for the show "I Pescecani"; Region of Tuscany Award for Contemporary Culture 2005; Silver Medal of Presidency of the Republic Festival Viviani of Civil Commitment 2009; Ubu Award for Best Director 2010 for the show "Hamlice"; Peppino Patroni Griffi Award at the Capri International Film Festival, Holliwood, Ubu Award 2014 for Best Scenography for the show, "Santo Genet" at VolterraTeatro Festival and the National Center Theatre and Prison.
He complements his activity in penitentiaries with an intense activity as a director working with the most prestigious Italian and European theatres. He is often invited to hold conferences, workshops and seminars to talk about his innovative methodology of work.
At the moment he is working on the fulfilment of a dream: to realize a Permanent Repertory Theatre in Prison.
Habibi is an actor of Compagnia della Fortezza. Originally from Tunisia, he settled in Livorno prior to joining the theatre troupe.
Yang is a Compagnia della Fortezza actor of Chinese origin, who settled in Prato and worked in the garment industry.
Ibrahim is a proud Senegalese actor who speaks four languages. Prior to joining Compagnia della Fortezza, he lived in Florence.
Anielo is originally from Naples, Italy. His work at Compagnia della Fortezza has caught Matteo Garrone's attention. He soon became the lead protagonist for an award-winning film, Realita.
Max is an actor at Compagnia della Fortezza originally from Bologna, Italy.